Tag Archives: body

How to maintain your painful habits!


When I meet new people one of the many questions that are asked are;

  • Where do you live?
  • Questions about my family and relationships
  • Why are am I here
  • Of course the weather

then the terrifying question arrives, what do you do!

I do have two roles, I’m a business analyst, most guess what this is without asking too many questions – they probably don’t know but their guess will do and I’m happy with that.

We can move on.

My other role is an Alexander Technique Teacher, well I will be soon. People either know or think they know, they are the ones that tighten their back to become erect and tall or they mention that it is something about sitting and standing.

The others want more information.

I really don’t know which ones are worse to explain what the Alexander Technique is; those with preconceived ideas or those without a clue.

I’ve shuffled around many ideas on what to say at this point, my current words are about rediscovering your lost freedom and ease, changing your habits that give you pain to habits that allow you freedom and ease; regressing back to being an 6 year old.

You may think that is impossible,

I’ll tell you it is not,

it is only a choice like the choice you have to maintain your painful habits.

Changing habits is a little difficult as you have to go against your norm, your norm has helped you throughout your life, if you are not careful every time you choose to make a change your norm will be resistant and win over your well intentioned choice. If you are like me your norm will win every time. What needs to be done is approach change indirectly then your habit can claim it for itself. Your habits are like your manager at work that keeps stealing your ideas. If you know that they do this then you can steer them to what you want. Habits are the same.

You need to show your habit the benefit of the change so that your habit can steal your idea.

Do you ever get out of breathe when you do a particular activity, mine was walking up hill. I’d see a hill and get ready for the incline; hunker down and lean into the hill – this is absolutely stupid, it is making the incline even more onerous.

Being an engineer I have an understanding about levers and weights, leaning forward I need more energy to move myself than if I was upright therefore getting ready for a hill by leaning forward is a waste of effort and pretty stupid.

The other thing I noticed I was doing was making sure I lifted my knees higher than normal and putting more energy than I needed into moving my legs. Unless it is a very steep incline the height you normally lift your feet is enough to go up a hill.

I’ve almost forgot, not only did a get ready by leaning into the hill, I’d hold my breathe for some strange reason. I’d be breathless in a few steps.

Obviously something needs to change, being breathless did have it’s benefits I’d have to stop walking. I find working on breathing can be a difficult experiment as I get drawn into breathing, my view breathing should just happen so I avoid working on my breathing.

Going back to basics always works for me. whether it is a hill, or any other activity.

Get to know your environment, notice what you are touching, your feet on the ground,  your skin touching your clothes, the sense of the wind passing your skin, the heat of the sun. Be there with your environment. Allow yourself to receive whatever you can see, don’t go searching and focusing on anything. Keep refreshing these thoughts, these thought indirectly quieten down my breathing and magically I become more upright without any effort – remember in the beginning of this blog people tightened their back to become erect, there is no need for this, it happens naturally when you allow it to happen. Now I can carry on with my walk up hill. whenever the need to hunker down to get up the hill appears I can either stop for a moment to get to know my environment and refresh the thought on every step.  At some point awhile back my walking up hill habit changed from hunkering down to noticing the environment, walking up hill is now a breeze.

Perhaps you could experiment or find an Alexander Technique Teacher to help you to rediscover your 6 year old self again.

Being 6 again is fantastic.

Happy experimenting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When things are getting to you


You know I’ve never really liked dancing, just too many rules to obey, though I enjoy watching people dance. I mentioned this in my last blog Bliss!

To my surprise I’m enjoying learning to dance the Tango, I’m learning Argentine Tango which from what I understand is a social dance without many rules. What happens between my partner and myself is our business as long as we move counter clockwise around the dance floor. I have steps to learn or what I feel I’m learning are the various options my partner and I have when we make a step together.

You can to do a little experiment in a moment. The experiment is ‘when is the moment when your step is committed, i.e. you can’t pause and change your mind?”

Please take a few steps and experiment.

What did you notice?

I noticed that when my gait is wide, which is my norm, I committed my step very early, probably before I moved my foot. Closing my gait helped but I also support most of my weight in my heels, when I moved my weight forward I could remain in balance on my standing foot for a lot longer, I can move my other foot forward, pause and move it back again. My decision to transfer my weight to my other foot is now when my foot is in its new position.

Please take a few steps with a closer gait and you weight forward, now experiment.

What did you notice?

Each time I experiment with this, things quieten down and I become more aware of my surroundings, noticing when I can pause and change direction, I’ve found with practice, pausing and changing can happen at any moment.

This is a great skill for dancing, I also see it as a great skill for those moments when things are getting to you. Next time you have one of those moments, stand up, close your gait so there is 2-4 cms between your feet, move your balance to the soles of your feet and wait until you want to move, take a small step and tease yourself whether you are going to finish the step or not. You will commit to something wait until the intension rises, commit and move to your new step or you may have committed to returned to where you were. Have fun experimenting, if you live in the Forest of Dean you could come along and learn the Tango, or search for somewhere else. feet 013

You can practice these steps wherever you are, even on the beach!

Do let me know how you get on!

 

A pleasurable outcome that leads to other opportunities


Of course with all this contentment I’ve been writing about I still have to get on and do things; working, driving, keeping the house tidy, planning events and holidays, etc, etc; life still needs to go on whilst being contented and grounded. But these things are somehow easier, I don’t have, it does pop up occasionally, the doubt, worry and I’m not good enough thoughts. When they do pop up I know I’ve slipped out of balance somewhere and I bring my balance back and these thoughts just vaporise, some of these thought may be persistent then I pause for a longer moment, sometimes they don’t want to leave me, I then continue with the knowledge they are there with me, I may be doubting myself as I continue; at the moment I have this doubt, I guess I’m touching a nerve in that I am opening up to much to whoever is reading this blog.

Writing this blog is my choice and clicking on the ‘publish’ button is another choice, I’ve got plenty of blogs that haven’t been published for some reason or other.

Life is full of choices and they can be changed at any point, there are even more choices the more present you are, ugh you may be thinking, I’ve got enough choices already and why do I want to be conscious and get more. I’ve noticed that the choices are different, I’m not making choices that I don’t want to make, I’m not bending to someone else’s will. Sometimes life brings the inevitable, a flat car tyre, it will need to be fixed if you want to continue on your journey then acceptance can be brought into the activity. There’s no need for anger though you may be annoyed, there’s no need to be embarrassed for something that is out of your control. Being accepting of the situation you maintain your balance and contentment and you may find a more pleasurable outcome that leads to other opportunities.

How about noticing when you next get angry or annoyed let the vengefulness slide away and disappear. You can still be angry or annoyed and grounded and contented at the same time. I find at that moment there are plenty of more opportunities and choices to be made though your authentic self.

Please give it a go when you have the opportunity.

 

 

Go on, give it a go!


So how do you find contentment? It’s one of those very easy things to do be ever so hard to achieve, I think I’ve got a plan but have I?

It’s just one of those things.

If you think you have it, it just disappears in a puff of smoke. If it is so elusive why do people want it so much? Is it because of its scarcity, elusive or is it because you hear good things about contentment.

You can discover through various channels, yoga, meditation, reflexology, energy work, martial arts, mindfulness and for me it was via the Alexander Technique. As I’ve written before these channels or methods are just one of many ways to get you to notice what you are doing and then to invite a change, hopefully for the better.

What I like about the Alexander Technique is that it is sort of mindfulness in activity but it is a lot more than that. The Alexander Technique is choosing to be conscious in what you choose to do. You have options to choose, sometimes it is best to let your reactions take over, say, avoiding a speed car or something falling near you and you need to avoid it. However most of the time you could be more conscious in what you do, it is your choice. However being more conscious in what you do does lead you to being more content, I’ve noticed less things phase me, my anger and equally my joyfulness have lost their energies, of course if I choose to.

Many people think they know what the Alexander Technique is, isn’t about posture, something about a straight back? It is but it isn’t, it’s about thinking and allow yourself to be as it should be, then again it’s not about the thinking, or what I think you think thinking is.

The thinking I’m suggesting is akin to non-thinking but is more than non-thinking. If you are confused, join the club, I was confused for years.

My confusion was that I thought I had to do something to do this ‘more than non-thinking’ stuff, the secret is there is nothing to do as it is built into ourselves already.

If we take a moment or several moments for me, you may notice more things in your vicinity, noises may get louder, I notice that normally silent clocks get loader, my sight gets cleared and my peripheral vision increases, my sense of touch increases, these sensations only that if I stop fretting and worrying about things. All this can be achieved by using mindful techniques, what is different with the Alexander Technique is we practice this whilst in everyday activities. So you may find when you have an Alexander Technique lesson that the activities my seem a little contrived, for example moving from sitting to standing, if you think about it, how many times a day do you sit on a chair and how many times are you really conscious of sitting and standing or any other routine activity?

Experimenting with the routine everyday activities gives you plenty of homework to experiment with. How about experimenting now? When you next decide to move from sitting to standing start to notice things,

  • What are you thinking, if there is any judgement let it go and move to standing?
  • What limbs do you use, let any judgement go and move to standing?
  • What muscles do you need to use?
  • What happened with your breathe, did you hold your breath or gasp before you started the activity?
  • What happened when you reached your full height, was there any judgement?

You may have your own questions you want to ask yourself, please avoid being judgmental as judgement will mask your discoveries and also you’ll lose your presence.

What you may find is that you start the experiment and all of a sudden you are standing with no recollection of the questions or even moving from sitting to standing. What ever you notice is great, next time you experiment you will notice something else, keep experimenting and noticing the change. Of course you could seek out an Alexander Technique teacher or even me, you will get quicker results and a noticeable change in how you move in your daily activities and also in your contentment with life.

Go on, give it a go!

That’s not what I do, it’s not what I am!


It’s pretty hard to write about anything when I’m content with myself, strangely I have the urge to write, but what to write about!

I like this sense of calm, I’m aware of myself, what I’m doing and my environment, in my office on a rainy January Sunday. This sense of calm has taken some time to appear, over the past few years I’ve tried so hard to discover this calm, it has all ways been out of reach. I’ve been ill with what I guess was flu so I’ve had sometime to stop my normal busy life and do nothing. I started listening to people I trust, the common story was “you’re doing too much – stop it”. For some reason I listened, even took up the offer of some reflexology with Deborah. Whatever she did changed me in some way, I think there were also some other contributing factors as well, I stopped and listened to others and more importantly my body, I’ve also read two thought provoking books, Brene Brown’s “Braving the Wilderness” and Eckhart Tolle’s ” A New Earth”. I only decided the read ‘ A New World” as I saw a copy of one of Eckhart’s books in Deborah’s treatment room.

The books and my past Alexander Training have a common theme, bringing consciousness to the for, then you have the opportunity to be authentic if you want to.

My problem in the past has been ‘if I wanted to’; I’ve never really thought that I was worthy therefore I choose not to. I’ve had moments of a really strong sense of authenticity but never had the nerve to take it any further because of thoughts of “that’s not what I do, it’s not what I am”.

Being ill has given me the time to experiment without my normal external stimuli and also to quieten down my internal stimuli. Noticing when I measure things as good or bad, happy or sad; these measures are just thoughts that feed my ego. So instead I’ve been experimenting at noticing when I make a judgement, pausing for a moment, asking myself do I need to be judgmental about whatever it was, the answer has always been no. This is a slight lie as I never get to ask the question, pausing for a moment and reconnecting with the ground and space around me I become present, in the here and now. Being in the present the judgmental thought just evaporates hence the question disappears.

This all sounds like a lot of work and thinking, I thought that but you will find it is less thinking than second guessing others and building up negative energies by being judgmental.

If you have thoughts of “that’s not what I do, it’s not what I am” or you find that you keep making or taking sides in various situations, perhaps you could experiment with discovering your authenticity. It is such a contented space to be in, I was going to write ‘such a happy space’ but this isn’t true,  being contented could be happy or sad, however happy and sad are measurements of some sort that will break your contentment.

Have you ever found this contentment?

 

 

 

 

We sometimes think too much. 


You may have noticed that many of my blogs are about noticing our habits, more precisely the habits that stop you doing the thing you really want to do, this thing may be  your ambition; it may be singing solo in front of a huge audience, skydiving, running a marathon, reading aloud without stuttering or overcoming a phobia of some kind. Achieving your ambition is firstly to overcome your doubt.

You may have guessed what the first step is; noticing what happens when you think about your ambition. I guess it may feel overwhelming else you would have achieved it  already.  Again notice the thought, probably it was a thoughts of; “it’s impossible’, “I can’t work out the first step,” ” I don’t know where to start”, with all theses thoughts there will be some muscular tension somewhere; mine are butterflies in my stomach. You’ll have something somewhere, sometimes you need to be quiet to notice.

When I sense my butterflies it is time to act, I don’t think, “Oh those butterflies again I’m going to fail again” that was my old thought. I use my butterflies as a moment to pause and do something different from what I habitually want to do; this a hard to achieve as thoughts of “don’t be silly, that can’t possibly work” and other self sabotaging thoughts appear. The harder I try to do something different the louder these thoughts shout out. I’ve failed at this step many times and still do however there is a way to silence these thoughts instantly. It is being here in this very moment and understanding that this very moment can’t be held on to, you need to let go of every moment as you pass through it.

My current thinking is about balancing gravity, space and time; being in balance with all three. We are constantly working with gravity whether we are sitting, standing, lying down, in activity and when we are asleep, it never goes away. We use gravity all the time.   We sometimes sabotage ourselves and think gravity is against us, for one, gravity can’t think, it is our own thinking that is doing the sabotaging.

We sometimes think too much.

When I notice my butterflies, it is a prompt to think about how I am with gravity, I’m probably giving into gravity and letting my body crumble to the ground, even if it’s ever slight. I reverse my thoughts by pausing, noticing how I’m touching the ground is it though a chair or am I standing, then allow my legs and torso to move so my head and body are in balance with gravity. For me this has quietening effect on my thinking.

My butterflies are also a prompt to notice if I’m compressing myself, maybe I want to hide for some reason, and making myself small I might disappear or not be noticed. Again I pause for a moment and invite each molecule in my body to take up its own space and then expand my space into the room I’m in, then out to the local area and on and on into space, this also effects my thinking this time into space, now I’m in balance with gravity and space.

My butterflies are also a prompt to notice if I’m thinking into the future and worrying out the future. When I’m worrying or being anxious I have a sense of projecting my thoughts just in front of me, I pause again and have the same thoughts but this time I have the thought just behind my eyes, where my centre of gravity is. I find this quietens down my worry to nothing, now I’m in balance with gravity, space and time.

There is a catch to this, if you try to hold onto the sensation of being in balance with gravity, space and time you will get stuck and tighten up and loss the freedom, space and the time will return to anxiety. These thoughts only last for a moment, they need to be let go of as soon as they are thought and rethought again and let go again. With practice you will get quicker and quicker and then non-verbal. Then you can take the first steps to achieve your ambition.

 

When depression, anxiety and asthma disappeared!


As I have written earlier, I didn’t know I was depressed and anxious until I noticed, you may think that is pretty obvious, it is, but not when I was in the deep of it. It is hard to listen to others who may suggest or demand that I’m are depressed, how can that be possible, I’m just living my life as I’ve always done, I’ve just more to manage just now!

Salbutamol is just what I need to help me through the day, asthma is something that had just popped up; it’s nothing to do with divorce, separation from my children, trying to find a new job, trying to build my life up again. Trying to be stoic works for a while until exhaustion takes over, then stoicism crumbles into feelings of worthlessness and desperation, luckily I have friends and family to support me and I made it through those dark, dark days which at the moment are just fleeting images; it is only when someone reminds me of a holiday or meeting someone that I can remember those moments. I’ve locked my memories of those times deeply way in the depths of my consciousness, perhaps this is to protect me.

I did slip into the need for alcohol for a few years, this was easy as I’d had plenty of practice when I was in the navy, bars around the world were always welcoming and I believe it was a necessity to survive the stress of servicing at sea. I still drink but drink when I want not when alcohol dictates. I’m now such a lightweight when I go out.

What changed my decline was the discovery that I was in charge of my life, my destiny and I don’t need to rely on others, this was really hard to achieve, it is not the understanding that is hard, I found that relatively easy but it was the actual task of being in charge of myself.

I accidentally discovered what I needed to do through working with various people, some didn’t directly help, though they helped indirectly, in fact on reflection I think there was only two who have helped me directly; I know who they are, you may find out later.

I’ve written accidentally as I wasn’t my intention to discover that it was me who is in change of my destiny, I was content where I was. Hopefully I can accidentally change your view on life.

I’ve written many times the secret of my change, firstly it is honesty, authenticity with an openness to change. I know I’m not getting everything right, in fact I’m ecstatic that I get things wrong. If I have the openness to accept my errors then I can do something else next time, instead of what I did wrong last time.

The second part is that I’m seeking to be in balance, again I know I’m out of balance most of the time so I need to make adjustments, I need to keep moving. Balance has two meaning to me, there are probably more to discover. The easy one is being in balance with gravity, I understand this to mean using the appropriate muscles to be in balance, being efficacious, efficient and effective in how I move.

The second balance is being in balance with time, not worrying about the future or reminiscing about the past; there are times and places for those thoughts but not all the time.

Being in balance with time by being in the present, if a thought of doubt appears let it go. Being in balance with time is what really changed my life, depression, anxiety and asthma disappeared. They do reappear occasionally, I’ve now learnt how to keep then quiet.

I believe to relieve yourself of your doubts and worries the fundamental thought you need is being in balance in all the dimensions, the paradigms, you understand. Balancing with gravity and time are my first two paradigms, there may be more, I don’t know.

If you believe that you are the only one who can make the change for yourself but are stuck then perhaps you might what to read more of what I’m writing.

If you are interested in more why not join my mailing list.

 

 

 

Depression hides the years 


Sometimes it is hard to be a man, there is a lot of expectation from others.

  • Your reliable
  • The stalwart of …
  • The bread winner
  • Stoic
  • Trustworthy

All these things and more eventually get men down, they just want to be themselves but don’t know how to be themselves.

From a very early age they have learnt to be men;

  • they don’t cry
  • they are tough
  • nothing hurts them
  • they club together doing manly things

This is what separates men from women!

However all this trying to be something they are not eventually gets to much and something snaps. Then,

  • Divorce
  • Family separation
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Physical Illness because of the above
  • Alienation from the manly clubs

All of a sudden the things that us men have been trying to achieve are now valueless, we are valueless, we are middle-aged with all our dreams broken. In the UK this is the point many men commit suicide; their dreams are shattered and there is nothing to live for.

I’ve survived and I’ve been through all this, it’s not nice but luckily I can’t remember much as depression hides the years.

One of the things that has helped my, especially in the last few years is that I am good enough as I am. A hard thing to grasp when self hatred is everywhere, please believe me, you are good enough. So you are good enough, so you don’t need a try.

I’ve discovered trying is such a no no, We are brought up to try at everything.

  • Trying to be reliable
  • Trying to be a stalwart
  • Trying to be the bread winner
  • Trying to be stoic
  • Trying to be trustworthy.

We can be all these things and more without trying. Life is easier without trying and life is fun, people treat you differently when you don’t try, they can see your authentic self without sifting though all the layers of trying. They smile at you, they are comfortable near your space, life is just happier.

Breaking the myths about men would be great, so men

  • can cry
  • are tough but also tender
  • things do hurt them
  • can club together doing manly and other things
  • can be their authentic selves

Changing the habit of trying is extremely difficult as we are deeply conditioned to try. It takes time but is achievable, I did it so it’s not impossible. Start at the small things, notice something that you do that annoys you, something that won’t change the world but you will be pleased as its one less thing that annoys you.

Notice when it happens and don’t do anything about it, just notice and observe. Notice and observe a few times, you should get better at noticing it and you may notice the urge before you do it. When you notice the urge perhaps sometimes do something different or don’t follow urge by doing it, you have given yourself choices , make the most appropriate one each time, you may want it scratch the itch or not. You now have options.

With practice you should be able to notice more and make more choices in what you want to do. As I wrote this takes time and you may discover that you are the one in control of your own life, you can make your life happy or sad, vengeful or forgiving, You have the choice.

This is my journey, if you want to know my, then please join my mailing list to find out more.

It is not just men who have these problems, women do as well.

Ahh, I never knew you had any pain!


The other day I was explaining what the Alexander Technique is about, it’s sometimes a challenge as I want to explain it for them to understand, this time I stuck to what I think it is about; A method to rediscover your inner freedom and aliveness then I explained further about by noticing your  balance with gravity and also noticing your balance with others.

He was in a typical sitting position, a bent back and sitting on his coccyx (the tail bone).

I asked him if he was thinking about how he was sitting, the answer was “Why”.

Time to get him thinking!

“Do you know you have sit bones” I asked

“What” was the reply

“Put your hand between the seat of the chair and bum and rock around, you should feel two boney bits, one on each side”

“Ahh”

“These are your sit bones, take your hands out and just rock on these bones.”

“Ahh”

We drank some more beer and later he said, ” You know what, the pain in my back that I have had for years has disappeared”

I replied “Ahh, I never knew you had any pain!”

I’d got him to notice how he moves even if it was only sitting. By noticing, he had rediscovered some of freedom and aliveness and was more in balance with gravity, his outcome was less or no back pain.

We drank more beer, he maintained his balance, well I was drinking beer, he was drinking coffee as he was driving later.

Just simple thoughts and ideas can help you rediscover your freedom and aliveness. Why not try it for yourself?

I’ve got loads more ideas.

Balanced Consciousness


It’s getting closer to Christmas, this year I’m looking forward to it, I normally want to ignore it, shy away from it. It’s just too commercialised, I still believe it is too commercialised but this year I’m looking forward to it.

The past years I’ve been waiting for resolutions to happen, I’ve been waiting for someone else to make these resolutions happen; things have changed over this year, I’ve changed. I’ve discovered that my resolutions are up to me, if I want them to happen it is solely up to me to discover ways to achieve my resolutions, this stuff has been lingering in my life for far to long.

I’m empowered and I have the authority to make these things happen: pussyfooting around just delays the things and they may never happen, I want these things to happen so I better get on with these things. I know what they are and I guess you have things you want to resolve and aren’t to eager to disclose.

What has changed this year is that I have my authority to do what I want and when, of course things that are within the law.

What has happened is that I have a constant sense of calm and if calm wanders a little I have the tools for my calm to return. I’ve had years of self doubt, not being good enough, being quiet, being in the middle so I don’t get noticed, you get the idea.

I’ve only achieved this by undertaking some very serious and difficult training in learning how to do nothing and to be me.  That is what I understand the Alexander Technique to be; learning how to remove the layers of worry and doubt that I’ve collected offer the years, I’ve been around for plenty of years so I’ve got a lot of worries.

What I mean by ‘to do nothing’ isn’t quite true, I still need to drive, walk, eat, work, sleep, etc, now I do all those things with less effort as I’m more conscious in what i’m doing.

Noticing annoying habits, the big one for me at the moment is getting ready for something, going into that holding position and locking my muscles at the moment they should be free to engage in an activity. Do you ever notice getting ready to catch a ball, your hands involuntary go forward and freeze waiting to receive the ball. I see this and preempting and it probably will increase the likelihood of you not catching the ball or even more seriously hurting yourself, perhaps pulling a muscle.

The simple act of catching a ball can be represented as how you respond to life, if you are tense and worried when responding to a particular situation like one of my resolutions I want to resolve things may not go to well. However if you are calm and conscious then making the decision will come from a point of freedom which will allow  freedom to respond more appropriately to the situation.

For this freedom to happen you need to be in balance, not just with gravity but also balanced consciousness. Being conscious for your surroundings, what is happening within you whilst responding to the situation and steering the situation for your satisfactory conclusion. Perhaps the definition of the Alexander Technique is a method to discover freedom and balance.

I’ve written a lot of words here but words will never beat the experience of what I’m trying to write about, it is amazing that why I keep going on about it; go seek me out or an Alexander Technique Teacher in your locality.